Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the Honda 21-inch Variable Speed 4-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Self Propelled Lawn Mower we should point out that the model numbers HRX217VKA and HRX217K5VKA are used interchangeably by Honda to refer to this lawn mower and there do not appear to be any differences between the two. That said the best adjective to describe the HRX217VKA is powerful.
Consumer Reports recommends the Toro Recycler 20333 because of its very good ratings in ease of use handling side discharging and bagging and excellent mulching. The reviewer specifically liked the washout port for cleaning buildup under the sizable deck. The Wirecutter used to list the 20333 as the runner-up pick but supplanted it with the 20340 because of the newer models upright storage. However the reviewer still recommends the 20333 if the blade brake clutch is more important to you than compact storage.
The Honda HRX217VKA is at or near the top of all of the expert best lawn mower lists including Popular Mechanics Top Ten Reviews and Lawn Mower Review. The testers at Consumer Reports gave this model top ratings for handling bagging and mulching and “very good” ratings for ease of use and side discharging. Additionally the reviewer estimated the breakage rate by the fourth year of ownership to be 16% which is well below any of the other mowers they tested.